The 10th Annual Steelers March to the Super Bowl Thread

Ten seasons. So much has happened in those ten seasons, and few things are constant. I look over at my son and realize that I have been doing this thread since he was small enough for me to hold up with one hand. Amazing.

Traditions must endure, however, so without further ado, it’s time to get down to business.

This year I think I will do something a little different. I have been accused of talking trash and offering no real content in the past, so I’ll restrain myself this time. Yes, I will give an optimistic yet clear-eyed assessment of the Steelers’ chances. I think they’re still very good, as do most professional pundits who have them placed within their top-10 lists. Let’s start with the defense.

Defense: as Troy Polamalu goes, so does the defense. History has shown that the Steelers’ defense is very different when Polamalu is hurt. Also, the corners, Goddamn Ike Taylor in particular, are prone to getting torched. None of this is anything new. Yet the defense is consistently strong and they consistently finish the season with high ratings. Can they do so again this year? I think so. Ziggy Hood will finally get his chance to pay off on his draft potential, Larry Foote should step in nicely, and the young substitutes look promising, including Cameron Heyward. The corners? Well, someone is going to have to step up or it’s going to be a long season. Fortunately, I anticipate the heavy pressure getting to the quarterback and largely negating that particular uncertainty (as happens every year).

Offense: Hey, they finally drafted offensive line help this year! I’m excited! Wait, what’s that? DeCastro’s already out for half a year and Adams isn’t looking too hot? Crap, it’s the same old Steelers on the offensive line. Can Pouncey play a whole year without getting injured? Can anybody keep Ben form getting killed? A lot of uncertainty remains.

One thing that is certain, however, is that Ben Roethlisberger cannot take the kind of abuse he’s been taking for his entire career and fight through it. He’s getting old, and nobody can take that kind of punishment forever. As he goes, so goes the offense. The receiving corps, including the disgruntled Mike Wallace, is amazing. So, who comes in but Todd Haley, who says he wants to re-establish the running game, only there’s nobody proven to run the ball. Yeesh.

The good news is that Isaac “Redzone” Redman and his backups looked good in preseason. In fact, the whole first team looked good in preseason. Is that a sign of things to come, or is it just that it was preseason? I’m thinking the former, but you know how it is sometimes, the team looks great in preseason and then lays an egg when it counts.

Special Teams: Always an adventure with the Steelers, this year promises to be little different. They have a rookie punter and a castaway kicker (who admittedly did fine last season), and God only knows if this year’s crew can actually contain a return. Every kick will have me holding my breath.

So, does all of the above mean that I am down on my beloved Steelers? Quite the contrary, I’m excited to see how it turns out. It’s a very different team from the one last year. No more Hines Ward for one, which must thrill the other AFC North teams who couldn’t do anything with him for years. Alas for them, the new receivers are better. No, I’m thinking that the Steelers are going to win the division. Why? Because I always do, that’s why. Hope springs eternal. But there are other reasons. Let’s start with the Ratbirds and go down.

Baltimore lost T-Sizzle because he thought he could ball so hard at every sport and tore his Achilles tendon. Even if he comes back he won’t be anywhere near ready to play this year. That’s a crushing blow for them, because he was the guy. Ray Lewis? I’ve been talking about him losing a step for years, and this year will be just another step down, hardly the guy to replace Suggs’ production. Ed Reed also lost a step but is contract hunting so he might play over his head. I doubt it, age catches up with everyone sooner or later, but you never know.

On offense, Ray Rice is a beast. I admit it. But can he overcome the erratic performance of Joe Flacco? How about the penalty magnet that is Michael Oher? They were a play away from the Super Bowl last year. That’s not likely to happen again, not in the NFL, not in the AFC North where sweeping the Steelers is an exceptionally rare occurrence.

Cincinnati: The Bengals played well last year, but there’s a reason they haven’t had two consecutive winning seasons in three decades. Management and coaching is what it all comes down to. Dalton and Green have to prove that they are for real after last year’s performance, the defense has to prove that they can hold up for a full schedule, and Marvin Lewis has to get it done now that he has “the tools”. Anybody else have doubts? Yeah, me too.

Cleveland: Another year in the Factory of Sadness. What else is there to say, seriously? They were bad last year, they’ll be bad this year, and maybe the new owner can do something so they might actually be competitive sometime soon, because they’re dog meat for the foreseeable future. I want them to be good, I really do. I want a reason to hate them instead of simply pitying them.

So, my division prediction (since this usually also acts as the AFC North thread):

Pittsburgh 16-0
Baltimore: 10-6
Cincinnati: 7-9
Cleveland: 4-12

OK, seriously, I think Pittsburgh wins at least 12 games. They have the benefit of a second-place schedule, whereas the Ravens get to play Green Bay, among others. Suggs’ loss is really going to hurt them.

As for the rest of the league, well, I’ll get to them when it matters. Right now I’m sticking to the division simply because I don’t want to turn this post into an hour-long epic. You can be certain that this is not my final word this year on football.

In conclusion, the Steelers have as good a team as they have had over the last 6 years, and as such stand a really good chance of making it to and winning the Super Bowl, starting with their victory over the Donkeys on Sunday. In fact, I think they’re going to take it all, simply because I always do. They will win the division, plow through the rest of the teams in the playoffs, and beat the 49ers by 10 points in the Super Bowl, thus adding their 7th Lombardi Trophy to their collection, cementing Ben Roethlisberger’s reputation as a Hall of Fame quarterback, and causing thousands upon thousands of gallons of tears to be shed by Steelers haters.

You knew I couldn’t make it through this whole thing with talking at least a little trash, didn’t you? So here you go. The floor is open. Bring it.

How does Baltimore play Green Bay and Pittsburgh doesn’t? I thought every team from a division played every team from the same division of the other league. Perhaps you mean New England. Not trying to pick nits here, just trying to clarify.

You’re giving Cleveland four wins? Have you seen Wheeden “play”?

Not much to add, other than the fact that I’ll be at the December game against the Chargers :D:D:D.

You’re right about how the out of conference games work. Baltimore’s extra games are New England and Houston; Pittsburgh’s are NYJ and Tennessee.

I didn’t want to come into the Steelers thread to begin shitting on the Bengals but your flukey ass team is gonna get its shit pushed in against the harder schedule this year instead of just beating up on losing teams like last year. It’s time for the sophmore slump for the overrated noodle armed Ginger.

Anyway, I’m rooting for the Steelers to either go 0-16 or make the playoffs and get knocked out by Tebow again. Either would be fucking hilarious. If the latter happens I may become religious.

You hilljacks better hope Ben doesn’t get a real injury this year instead of the drama queen bullshit he makes up to heroically play through. Your O-line is going to be a mess - DeCastro was just shitty luck but Mike Adams is a joke. Ben is getting old and he’s had a lot of rape escape related wear and tear on his body, your defense can apply to be in the AARP, and your HC Omar Epps is going to stop coming up magical solutions 5 minutes before the game ends since House was cancelled.

In summary, fuck all yall.

Well I am always more cautious and even more-so this year. It is a regrowth year, IMO.

My caution aside, GO STEELERS!


Awesome. I knew that post would provoke a response like this from you. You do have to admit that Wheeden hasn’t looked very good. It also looks like there’s a chance that Trent Richardson is more seriously injured than the team originally thought ( I think its great that the Browns have a new owner that might actually give a shit about the team, but I don’t think the Browns are going to win many games this season.

Anyways, I don’t think the Bengals are going to be that bad. They may finish 7-9 or 8-8 this season as we assimilate a lot of new parts, we are a really young team playing a brutal schedule and there are some questions about the oline play due to injuries/inexperience, the RB position and at linebacker, but overall we should be okay. I can realistically see 10-6 and winning the division or getting the wildcard again. There’s a lot of talent on my team.

I agree with you about the Ben and the Steelers o-line though. He just can’t possibly take the kind of punishment he’s been taking recently (a lot of it self-inflicted since he likes to hold the ball so damn much) and continue to not get really hurt as he ages and the o-line continues to suck for him.


No, you’re right. I got that wrong. They play all the first-place teams in the AFC. For some reason I thought they got the first-place teams in the NFC. Oops.

SenorBeef, your butthurt fuels me. Enjoy another horrible season.

As lifelong Steelers fan, this will really hurt to say, but I’ll spit it out.
I don’t think the Steelers will do well this year. Decent, at least 10 games, but not outstanding. Too many injuries negating their draft picks, an old line, and learning a new offense. This is a restructuring year, not a Super Bowl year.

Week 1 predictions: Ravens lose, Steelers lose, Browns lose.

Depth at Middle Linebacker is my biggest concern at the moment. Foote is hobbled (ha!), Sylvester isn’t ready yet, and Spence is done for the year if not forever after his grotesque injury. I think the corners will do fine and the D-line looked very very good in the preseason. Ike even made a nice interception this year, maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks. Naw, that’s too much wishful thinking.

I look forward to DeCastro coming back midway but the line will still be better with Colon at LG vs. Kemoeatu from last year. I’ve heard bad things about Adams from fans but good things from the insiders’ blogs like Lance Zierlein and those types. I think he’ll be fine but he’s not ready yet. We may see him at guard first, who knows? They will probably bring Essex back next week and frankly I’d rather see him in there than Foster. I also think they’re lying about running more. We’ll see.

A little more than two hours to go. I’m getting anxious. God but I missed football.

Steelers inactives for tonight: James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Clark, Kelvin Beachum, Charlie Batch, Alameda Ta’amu and Stevenson Sylvester.

No surprises there. Manning gets rid of the ball so fast it doesn’t matter who’s rushing tonight. Looking forward to seeing McLendon and Hood, supposedly a lot stronger than they were last year. They’ll be key in this one.

Go denver!

Does Todd Haley know that they’re allowed to throw the ball on first and second down?

Against Manning in the thin air I think they’re smart to control the clock and try to keep the defense fresh. Boring’s okay if it leads to victory.

I picked Peyton and his new team tonight, but Big Ben is looking like a pretty good QB.

And that’s why Peyton is one of the greats. Now we’ll have to settle for 15-1. :smiley: Far less embarrassing than losing to Tebow. Denver looks good, I hope we see them next in the playoffs.

What, are you saying that you didn’t like the sudden resurgence of Martyball?

So, analysis. Somewhere along the way Pittsburgh went from a team that had the game pretty well in hand, with the lead and a significant advantage in time of possession, to a team that couldn’t play defense and completely lost focus on offense. Yes, they have great receivers. Yes, they should probably have used them more. But Martyball 2012 was working. Dwyer in particular looked like he wanted to be there and should probably start the next game. So, what happened to the defense? Was it just Peyton being Peyton, or did the defense actually change? It was crazy, for 3 quarters they have it pretty well locked down and then POW, it’s over.

At least we know that Peyton is back and playing as well as ever. You can’t help but be impressed even as he shreds your favorite team. The Broncos played well and certainly deserved the victory, not that I’m happy about that at all.

However, I do have one objection: going for 2 when up 12 with less than 2 minutes to go? Really? The Heidi Bowl was 44 years ago, 2 touchdowns after that 4th quarter performance in 2 minutes was not going to happen. Kind of a dick move, if you ask me. You didn’t, of course, but that’s my opinion.

As for the refs, some good calls, some bad calls, some missed calls, and some huge spot issues, but they really were not a bad crew. Nothing out of the ordinary for a zebra crew in Week 1.

They can’t win them all, but this one was one that all Steelers fans wanted. I certainly wanted to see a win after last year’s playoffs. We’ll see if they can recover from this next week against the Jets. Sanchize started poorly today but recovered against the Bills. Pittsburgh’s defense is notably better, so we’ll find out.